2 Catlin properties are sold back to bank | TheUnion.com

2 Catlin properties are sold back to bank

About 20 people gathered for an auction Friday, but none placed bids on two Nevada County properties owned by a company that went belly-up last year.

Guaranty Bank, a federal savings bank, called for bids on the 447-acre Penn Valley Vineyard and 65-acre SouthHill Village development in Grass Valley as the auction opened at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the Nevada County Courthouse steps, in downtown Nevada City.

The bank, which owns the defaulted properties, set the starting bids at $3.17 million for the Penn Valley Vineyard and $2.15 million for the SouthHill property, on La Barr Meadows Road at Highway 49.

Dennis Ball, who owned the farm when it was called Indian Springs Vineyard, attended the auction out of interest in the sale. He sold it to now-defunct Catlin Properties LLC in 2006.

“I was surprised” to hear the company went into default, Ball said. “It’s sad. It seems like the property is an orphan.”

After the grapes on the 240-acre farm went unharvested in 2009, Lodi-based S&L Vineyards took a lease on the property for this season and plan to harvest in 2010. The farm is the largest vineyard in Nevada County.

Catlin Properties, a Sacramento-area developer, defaulted on both parcels in 2009. Catlin LLC owes about $5.2 million on Penn Valley Vineyards.

The company defaulted on the SouthHill Village property in November 2009, owing about $4.3 million, and it never completed a $320,000 environmental impact report. SouthHill Village was intended to be a mixed commercial and residential property.

In addition, a number of liens have been filed against Catlin, and investors are pursuing former owner Ben Catlin for lost funds. Catlin declared personal bankruptcy last year.

Messages left seeking comment from Guaranty’s trustee company, Stewart Title of Glendale, Calif., were not returned Friday.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail kmagin@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.

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